Ending the Romance for Stored Product Pests With Mating Disruption

Dec 16, 2016, 13:17 PM by Clark Pest Control Salinas Office

Stored product pests are one of the most economically important pests for food processing facilities such as grain silos, bakeries, breweries and retail food stores that store or use large amounts of unprocessed and cereal based grain products.

Confused flour beetles, Indian meal moths, saw-toothed grain beetles, weevils and other stored product pests can infest and spoil grain, flour, rice and finished goods rendering products inedible. This causes downtime in production, damaging the brand name and creating negative consumer feedback. If noticed by a third-party auditor, causes a facility to receive a reduced score or even failure of their audit.

One method for controlling stored product pests that threaten food processing and storage facilities is mating disruption. Scientist are working on several mating disruption materials, the one currently available and highly effective is for Indian meal moths and related food moths.

Mating disruption is the process of introducing artificial sex attractant pheromones into a facility with the intention of distracting male stored product pests – Indian meal and flour moths mainly – as they are trying to make a love connection with their female counterparts during mating season.

The artificial pheromones create “false trails” that make it harder for male moths to find their soul mates and when that happens mating doesn’t occur, eggs are not laid and the populations of these destructive pests drops.

Female Indian meal moths communicate with males through pheromone plumes. This directs male moths to their location. By using the mating disruption pheromone, the males chase a false trail, exhaust their energy reserves and die before successfully finding and mating with a female. These disruptions have a significant impact on their ability to mate and reproduce.

Even though pheromones products are naturally occurring this particular application method makes them a registered pesticide. However, they are certified for use in organic food processing facilities and there is no danger of food product absorbing the pheromones unless it comes in direct contact with the dispenser.

Pheromone mating disruption dispensers are typically installed and replaced twice a year to ensure coverage through the entire moth mating season. The dispensers are placed within facilities and can treat an entire warehouse but they have also proven successful in treating specific sections or even aisles in a facility.

A thorough pest monitoring program is also a key part of the process. Deploying standard pheromone traps and light traps, technicians can track pest population levels and when fewer male moths are caught the more likely the program is working.

If you are looking for a commercial pest management partner that will deliver exceptional results, provide outstanding customer care, and protect your employees and customers from unwanted and potentially harmful pests, give Clark Pest Control a call at 1-800-882-0374